45NRTH Fasterkatt shoe review

Warmer than expected with an impressively sleek and supportive fit

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £199.99 RRP | USD $225.00

Our review

Warm with a sleek and supportive fit — but not ideal for riders with flat feet
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The 45NRTH Fasterkatt takes a mild-mannered approach to winter cycling footwear with a weather-resistant, high-cut upper but minimal insulation. As long as you’re not heading out in truly frigid temperatures, this is one of the better foul-weather cycling shoes we’ve tested.

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  • Highs: Excellent fit for a winter shoe, sleek exterior, grippy outsole, reasonably lightweight
  • Lows: Laces require periodic re-tightening, zipper requires regular care, very aggressive arch support

As the Fasterkatt is intended for somewhat milder conditions (-3°C/25°F to 7°C/45°F, according to 45NRTH), the last is closer to what you’d expect from a standard cycling shoe and the quality of fit benefits accordingly. Hiding beneath the waterproof, zippered exterior shell is a cam-locked speed lacing system similar to what you’d find on many snowboarding or cross-country ski boots. Once snugged up, the laces distribute pressure evenly across your foot and lock your heel in place.

The speed lacing system is easy and quick to use, plus it does an excellent job of distributing pressure evenly across the top of your foot. We'd like to see a more secure system, though, that's better able to hold its adjustment over time
The speed lacing system is easy and quick to use, plus it does an excellent job of distributing pressure evenly across the top of your foot. we’d like to see a more secure system, though, that’s better able to hold its adjustment over time: the speed lacing system is easy and quick to use, plus it does an excellent job of distributing pressure evenly across the top of your foot. we’d like to see a more secure system, though, that’s better able to hold its adjustment over time
James Huang/Future Publishing

The hidden speed lacing system distributes pressure evenly across your foot

It’s not on par with a good summer shoe, but overall the feeling is better than a full-blown winter shoe that’s heavily packed with insulation. Weight is pretty good for a protective shoe with our pair of size 44 testers coming in at 1,175g, including insoles.

Out on the trail (or road), that translated for us into better performance in terms of pedaling efficiency and a generally more ‘connected’ feeling to the bike. Thanks to the relatively standard-thickness plate, we didn’t have to adjust our saddle height, either. Come the inevitable winter hike-a-bike sections, the generously treaded outsole provided ample grip and cleared snow pretty well, too.

45NRTH says the rubber compound used on the Fasterkatt is specifically designed with winter conditions in mind with "micro-glass filament" construction similar to what's used on some automotive winter tires
45NRTH says the rubber compound used on the fasterkatt is specifically designed with winter conditions in mind with
James Huang/Future Publishing

The heavily treaded outsole provide plenty of grip in snowy and icy conditions

More important for this segment, we found the Fasterkatts to be plenty warm. With medium-weight wool socks, we were quite comfortable right down to 45NRTH’s 3°C/25°F recommended lower limit. Although in concept these are little more than standard shoes with built-in water- and windproof covers, it helps tremendously that they’re fully sealed all the way around.

Aiding things further are the included insoles, which feature felted wool tops, closed-cell foam construction, and even a layer of aluminum to help reflect heat.

Those insoles are largely responsible for that rather conservative 7°C/45°F recommended upper limit, too. We swapped them out with more typical footbeds for a few warm – but wet – days and found the breathability good enough up to about 13°C/55°F.

The included insoles add a surprising amount of warmth thanks to felted wool top surfaces and embedded aluminum to help reflect heat
The included insoles add a surprising amount of warmth thanks to felted wool top surfaces and embedded aluminum to help reflect heat: the included insoles add a surprising amount of warmth thanks to felted wool top surfaces and embedded aluminum to help reflect heat
James Huang/Future Publishing

The included insoles feature felted wool covers that add a surprising amount of warmth

Those wet rides did reveal a weakness in the design, however. While the snug fitting, high-cut ankle and waterproof zipper do an admirable job of keeping road spray and stream crossings out of the shoe, it doesn’t take much grime to clog that zipper up. If neglected, the zipper becomes frustratingly hard to operate – and prone to jamming – so be sure to keep up with the lube.

The outer shell features a waterproof cover and armoring at the heel and toe
The outer shell features a waterproof cover and armoring at the heel and toe: the outer shell features a waterproof cover and armoring at the heel and toe
James Huang/Future Publishing

The tight-fitting waterproof zippers are prone to clogging with grime so make sure to keep them well lubricated

Much as we liked the snug fit, we also wished it lasted a little longer as we occasionally had to stop to retighten the speed lacing system. A more secure system would be much appreciated.

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Finally, potential buyers should definitely first try the Fasterkatts on before pulling the trigger as the arch support is quite aggressive. Riders with normal-to-high arches aren’t likely to have any issues but flat-footed cyclists might want to look elsewhere.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Fasterkatt
Brand 45NRTH

Available Colours Black
Available In (Mens/Womens) Mens
Weight (g) 1175
Shoe Type Winter Cycling
Shoe Compatibility 2 Bolt Cleat
Shoe Closure Hidden Quick Fit system (patented)
Shoe Sizes Available 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 50
Reinforced Toe Yes
Weatherproof Yes
Re-inforced Toe Box Yes
Breathable Yes
Heel Guard Yes
Hook And Loop Straps No